Suicide Bomber Hits Afghan Election Rally, Killing The Candidate And 7 Others

REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Joseph Lafave Contributor
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The blast from a suicide bomb at a campaign rally in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, has reportedly left at least eight people dead and 11 wounded.

Among the deceased is the candidate holding the rally, Saleh Mohammad Achekza, who was running for a seat in Afghanistan’s parliament.

The attack took place in Helmand Province’s capital city Lashkar Gah, which lies west of Kandahar, the second largest city in the country, according to a report from Reuters. Helmand borders Pakistan to the south and sits relatively close to the Iranian border, as well.

A Taliban insurgency has plagued the area for some time. And while no group has taken responsibility, many suspect the Taliban are behind Tuesday’s attack.

This latest bombing comes just a week after a similar attack killed at least 13 people at a campaign rally in Nangarhar Province near Jalalabad. ISIS is thought to have been behind that blast, but both ISIS and the Taliban are looking to disrupt the upcoming elections.

Afghans will go to the polls Oct. 20, although the Taliban has called for a boycott of all elections. Close to nine million Afghans are registered to vote, according to Reuters. (RELATED: OPINION: Afghanistan Is Un-Winnable)

As the violence continues, many Afghan political candidates have adopted stricter security measures and are avoiding public rallies. In total, 2,500 candidates are running for the 249 available seats in the lower house of Afghanistan’s parliament.